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Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.  And Elisha said, “I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit.”    
- 2 Kings 2:9

 

Saint Elisha, prophet, and the Carmelites:

If the Carmelites living on Mt. Carmel instinctively turned to Elijah, the prophet of Carmel, as their spiritual leader and father, it was only natural that they would also look to Elisha, the successor of the great Elijah, as one to emulate as well.  All the more so since Elisha received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit when his master was taken from this earth. (2 Kgs 2:9-ff).  It was on this occasion also that he received Elijah’s mantle as a sign of the conference of his spirit upon his disciple. 

The Carmelites associated their own white mantles with the mantle of Elijah, received by Elisha, and saw themselves as continuing in the footsteps of these two great prophets of Mt. Carmel.  Their white mantles were signs of their own participation in the prophetic spirit of Elijah and Elisha.  It was only natural that the Order looked to the two prophets, so closely linked in their fervor for the Lord God of hosts, as inspiration for their own zeal in seeking the face of the one, true God in their lives of prayer, silence, and solitude.

Their devotion to the faithful disciple of Elijah was formalized in 1399 with the establishment of the feast of St. Elisha in the Order’s liturgical calendar.  To this day, St. Elisha is honored by Carmelites in the liturgy on June 14.

Next Month:  The Scapular: Mary leading us to her Divine Son